Aging Well: Residents’ memories inspire fundraiser

The Haven Assisted Living Center’s annual event is Saturday at community center in Hayden

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The new Haven Community Center is scheduled to open Dec. 5. The building includes a large meeting area, an Internet cafe and a physical therapy/workout room.

Haven barbecue annual barn dance fundraiser

The Haven Assisted Living Center’s annual fundraiser is Saturday at The Haven Community Center in Hayden. A barbecue and buffet dinner is from 6 to 8 p.m., and music from Loose Change is from 7 to 10 p.m. Children’s activities include face painting and a pottery painting table.

Adult tickets cost $15 or $25 per couple. Tickets for those 6 to 18 years old cost $8. Admission is free for children 5 and younger. Tickets will be available at the door. All proceeds benefit nonprofit programs at The Haven.

Volunteers are needed to greet people at the door and sell tickets. For more information or to volunteer, call Karen Burley at 970-875-1888.

At one time, a weekend in the country meant hopping on a horse or wagon and heading to a neighbor’s barn for dinner, dancing and music.

Sometimes, the events celebrated weddings, anniversaries and other occasions. Other times, they were held to raise money for a family in need.

There may not have been a lot of bling, but there was never a shortage of fun.

The spirit of the traditional barn dance is the inspiration behind The Haven Assisted Living Center’s annual fundraiser Saturday.

The Haven Community Center may not be a barn, but the large open space will have all the components of an old-time celebration: food, toe-tapping tunes and, most importantly, neighbors out for a good time and a good cause.

With Haven resident numbers dwindling and repairs and program costs escalating, Haven staff looked to their residents for ideas about how to bring the community together to help.

“We wanted to get back to our roots here in this country — neighbors helping neighbors — and the things they used to do to help each other,” said Karen Burley, The Haven director.

The Haven residents fondly recalled attending barn dances then sleeping in tents before heading home the next morning.

Another means of raising money was to auction off box lunches prepared by local women.

Residents had The Haven staff rolling with their stories about bidding for lunches made by the best cooks or sacrificing taste to make the prettiest cooks feel good.

“Their stories were hilarious. … We really had a good time listening,” Burley said.

Saturday’s fundraiser will include a barbecue dinner and music from Loose Change. Weather permitting, music and dancing will take place outside on patios.

The community already has come together to help make the event a success.

Donors have contributed funds toward food and other costs, barbecue aficionados Sam Barnes and Todd Dunckley will be cooking the meat, and the band is entertaining at a reduced rate.

Local art students will be helping with face painting and other children’s activities, and 4-H members will be helping serve and replenish food at the buffet line.

Burley is looking for volunteers to work for about an hour greeting people at the door and selling tickets so The Haven staff can enjoy the event, as well.

The Haven Assisted Living Center is operated by the nonprofit Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. All proceeds from the barn dance will go toward needed repairs at the facility, activities and programs.

After operating at full capacity for several years, the assisted living center has experienced a decline in residents this year.

In accordance with state guidelines, and to minimize overhead, The Haven does not have a medical staff and cannot take bedridden clients or individuals who need in-house nursing care.

In some states, assisted living centers with the staff to accept higher-need clients actually are benefiting from the poor economy as nursing home residents move to lower cost assisted living facilities, Burley said.

That is not the case with The Haven.

“We are struggling to keep our ongoing programs going,” she said.

In addition to supporting programs and activities for Haven residents, the fundraiser will bolster The Haven programs benefiting older adults in Hayden. These include a congregate lunch Wednesdays at the facility and adult day services, which provides disabled older adults a safe and comfortable place to be during the day while family members work or attend other needs.

The program, which offers engaging activities and socialization for participants, helps older adults remain in their homes or with family while providing caregivers much needed respite.

For more information about the fundraiser or adult service programs at The Haven or the Rollingstone Respite House in Steamboat Springs, call Burley at 875-1888.

Tamera Manzanares writes for the Aging Well program and can be reached at tmanzanares@nwcovna.org. Aging Well, a division of Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, is a community-based program of healthy aging for adults 50 and older. For more information, visit www.agingwelltoday.com or call 871-7676.

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